4 min: A very lax start from both sides. Gomez, playing at right back today as he did at Newcastle, punts the ball out for a goal kick when trying to find Minamino down the line.
2 min: Some support here for the raft of changes made by Klopp.
“I think not enough credit is being given to Liverpool’s squad here,” emails Ricky Gill. Liverpool coped well enough without Salah & Mane during Afcon. And without Salah, Mane, VVD, Fabinho and Trent to still have that bench speaks volumes about the depth of this squad right now. If there was a game where he could rest players after 120 minutes of relentless football, this was going to be it. I don’t think Klopp is throwing in the towel for the league, this was surely expected. ”
“What are the odds that Villa beats City? Lottery odds. He can wear down his squad in a Man of La Mancha fantasy or he can give them the rest they need for realistic, attainable goals. ”
Not sure about lottery odds. And the Champions League final is a full six days after the Wolves game. It’s not as though these Liverpool players are going to be run off their feet.
Peeeeeep! We’re off at St Mary’s.
The teams are out. Southampton in their red and white shirts, black shorts and white socks. Liverpool in their all-yellow number. The teams take a knee. There is no room for discrimination in our society.
This could be Armando Broja’s last game in a Southampton shirt at St Mary’s with the Saints’ final game away at Leicester. The 20-year-old has done brilliantly this season, and he certainly has a few options. It’s not impossible he could be in Chelsea’s squad next season, Newcastle are reportedly sniffing about or it could be another loan move. He’s done enough to sideline £ 15m signing Adam Armstrong this season. Armstrong was supposed to be the one to replace Danny Ings but has only two goals this season.
It’s been absolutely tipping it down on the south coast.
“You think Klopp knows the game is up and it’s time to concentrate on Big Cup?” emails Geoff Saunders.
It certainly seems that way. Klopp will claim he trusts his whole squad and that injuries and fatigue have forced his hand. If I was Pep, I would have the cigars at the ready.
Wow. That is quite the line up from Liverpool. We knew about Salah and VVD being out tonight, and heard that Robertson might have been suffering from cramp after his Wembley exploits. But there arae nine changes from Saturday. Nine!
Milner, Jones, Elliott, Minamino all come in from the cold. The latter two have particularly not had much game time of late. No Mané or Alexander-Arnold, even on the bench.
Southampton: McCarthy, Stephens, Lyanco, Salisu, Walker-Peters, Ward-Prowse, Diallo, Tella, Redmond, Elyounoussi, Broja.
Subs: Romeu, Long, Adam Armstrong, Adams, Caballero, Stuart Armstrong, Djenepo, Bednarek, Valery.
Liverpool: Alisson, Gomez, Matip, Konate, Tsimikas, Jones, Milner, Elliott, Minamino, Firmino, Jota.
Subs: Thiago, Keita, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaz, Robertson, Origi, Williams, Kelleher.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)
If Liverpool lose tonight, Manchester City will be crowned champions of England. Win, and the Reds are lingering on the shoulder of the leaders, one point adrift, with just the final day of the season to come on Sunday. The stakes rarely get higher than this.
Most of us will be rooting for a Liverpool win tonight, because we all apparently support Klopp and co, but mainly because we just love a bit of drama. The prospect of Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa beating City to hand Liverpool the title on the final day is a delicious idea, however which way you cut it.
Klopp has already confirmed Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah will miss the trip to Southampton due to minor niggles, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Liverpool are relatively well stocked in those positions and the pair will be fit for the Champions League final and could return for Sunday’s game against Wolves.
For Southampton, this has been a dreadful end to the season but they are safe from relegation, despite a run in form that has seen them win just once – against Arsenal – in the last 10 league games. But they come into this “completely fresh” having had an 11-day break since their last outing at Brentford, and have taken points off Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal at St Mary’s Stadium this season.
“Last summer, we lost our best striker and other key players and people said we would struggle to stay clear of relegation,” Ralph Hasenhuttl said. “And we have had nothing to do with it. The teams that are down there would love to change places with us so this is a big achievement. Never forget that. ”
Kick-off: 7.45pm BST.